Was Lakewood Board of Education’s Hiring of Attorney Inzelbuch Legal? NJ Attorney General Says “Maybe Not.”

The letter below was sent to me by a kind reader who wishes to remain anonymous. This letter was procured from Lakewood Public Schools under the Freedom of Information Act. It is addressed to Lakewood’s superintendent Laura Winters and Board President Moshe Bender, and references the Board’s recent hiring of attorney Michael Inzelbuch at $600,000 per year, plus numerous benefits. For background, see this post where  I catalogue the Board’s disregard of the rules of …

Five Maxims for Phil Murphy

At a town hall in Montclair this past weekend, Phil Murphy held forth on the four New Jersey school districts — Jersey City, Paterson, Newark, and Camden — that over the last twenty-four years have been taken over by the state.  “In every  case, 100 percent of cases, state takeovers are of communities of color — that’s a fact, whether it is the school district or the entire community. And,” added Murphy indignantly, “ I …

When School Choicers Start to Behave Like the Establishment: Charter Schools Protecting Turf Against Another Charter School

This is a guest post by Bob Bowdon, the Executive Director of Choice Media, an education news service, website and smartphone app. Is it possible for charter schools to protect their turf at the expense of educational choices for children and families — just like traditional district schools? Say it ain’t so, Joe. After being approved to open this fall by the New Jersey Department of Education, the new College Achieve Charter School of Asbury Park …

The Grown-Up Version of PARCC: Can We Measure Up?

The New Jersey Department of Education just released our children’s 2017 scores on the state standardized PARCC tests in language arts and math. The news is good: students improved in both subjects. And, yet, the news is hard to hear because scores aren’t as high as we’re used to seeing on our older tests, ASK (grades 3-8) and HSPA (the former high school diploma qualifying test).  After all, unvarnished appraisals of student achievement are hard …

Guest Post: “The Morality Problem Lurking Below the Surface in Lakewood”

This is a guest post from Thomas G. Gatti, a Lakewood resident and supporter of municipal and educational equity. Gatti is a media consultant and former Chief Operating Officer of the College Television Network. He was previously COO of  DIR Broadcasting and an executive at Eastman Radio. (For those of you new to Lakewood’s history of shortchanging non-ultra Orthodox schoolchildren and residents, see here, here, and here. For complete NJLB coverage, click here.) ******************************************************************  I …

Follow the Money: A Guest Post from a Lakewood Resident

Once again the Lakewood Public Schools has been bailed out of their financial hole. This has become a rite of spring. The school-age population in Lakewood is around 35,000, of which only 6,000 children are public school students. Lakewood Schools have demographics like no other school district in New Jersey. The school district spends over 15 million dollars on courtesy busing for the 120 nonpublic ultra-Orthodox yeshivas in the Township. Additionally, special education costs for …

“Culture of Fear” in Lakewood Cheats Children of Color

The New Jersey Department of Education announced last week that it will give Lakewood Public Schools an “advance” of $8.5 million in state aid money (presumably from next year’s payments) to help bridge a $15 million budget gap. Superintendent Laura Winters told the Asbury Park Press that “it isn’t enough.” She’s right. It will take a lot more than $8.5 million — indeed, a lot more than $15 million — to adequately educate 6,000 low-income …

Lakewood Public Schools is Actually a Funding Stream for a Jewish Special Education School

Lakewood Public Schools just asked the state for a “loan” of 10 million dollars to partially bail it out of a $15 million hole in its 2017-2018 budget. This gift from the State would follow last year’s gift of $6 million yet still leave the district $5 million short.  Superintendent Laura Winters, who reportedly won’t be renewed by the Board, told the public that without the extra money she would be forced to lay off …